For the first time in its eight-year history, Sacred Heart University’s Relay For Life reached its fundraising goal of $50,000 for the American Cancer Society earlier this year.
Students, faculty, staff and community members flocked to SHU’s William H. Pitt Center to participate in the charity walk-a-thon. Before the event even started, Relay teams already raised $30,000 through a variety of initiatives.
“That was the most we’ve raised pre-event before,” said Olivia Traina, a junior and history major who co-chaired SHU’s 2016 Relay For Life.
By the end of the 12-hour walk-a-thon—which included motivational speeches from cancer survivors, a survivors’ walk, entertainment and games—the University met its goal and raised $51,845.
“The event went amazingly well,” said Traina, who became involved in Relay For Life in 2008 after her aunt died from cancer. She said she knew she had to help the cause. Since then, she’s participated in seven Relays, three of which were at SHU.
Cancer survivor Jaime Fregeau, a SHU sophomore, spoke during the opening ceremony. The nursing major expressed her appreciation for the University’s participation in the event. “I think it gives people peace of mind that they’re not facing this alone,” Fregeau said. “Together we can make a difference.”
President John J. Petillo was the last speaker before the survivor lap, when cancer survivors walked once around the track on their own. He told the crowd that no one goes through cancer alone, and every day is a new day for a survivor. He encouraged everyone to cheer on the survivors as they walked the track.
Music blared through the loudspeaker throughout the evening, keeping people alert and energized as they walked. Various clubs and organizations sold baked goods and other treats for the cause. Students wore team T-shirts, posed for pictures with SHU’s mascot, Big Red, and celebrated with the cancer survivors and caregivers.
To view additional photos from this year’s Relay, click here.